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Jun 5, 2007 01:50 PM

Best wine you've had under $15

I love wine and don't mind spending on a great bottle. But who doesn't love a great bargain wine. My recent $15 find which I really enjoy is the 2004 Marques Casa de Concha, Chili, Cabernet Sauvignon. Notes of dried fig, black cherry, vanilla and coffee and soft tannins. What are your favorites? Nothing over $20 please.

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  1. I had a Sutter Home 2004 chardonnay on the weekend. It was about $13 a bottle. It was so cool, smooth and refreshing with a wonderful brightness of fruity overtones like peachy appley meloney flavours. It really caught me by surprise; I haven't had a pleasant chardonnay like that for a long time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: quixotequest

      I had a wine at a friend's house that I loved. It's only available at World Market and its..... wait for it... BOXED!!! It's called Wine 4 Chilling and it is bottled by Trinchnero. It's a great table white. It costs $16.00, and is 3 liters. I have never had boxed wine, but tried it upon the urging of my friend. I was shockingly surprised. It's not too sweet, not too dry. It's not oakey. It's got a nice acidity and is smooth.

      I also like Chateu St. Michelle Riesling.

      I recently tried a great Malbec that was $14.00 from Whole Foods. I think it was Don Miguel Gascon. I had a 1/2 cup left over and used it to make a beef and mushrooom gravy and wow, it was amazing.

      1. re: sisterfunkhaus

        Nothing wrong with boxed wine for casual drinking.

    2. This would be a very difficult question to answer fully, as space would not allow. Most wines I enjoy are under $15. I especially enjoy Italian wines, which are almost always around $15 except for my Brunello, Barbaresco and Barolo purchases. A more difficult proposal would be good wine under $10. My entries would be 2004 Falesco, Vitiano $7.89 (a Gambero Rosso 2 red glass winner); 2003 Banfi, Chianti Classico $9.99; 2001 Mazzocco, Zinfandel $8.25; 2003 Castello di Fabbrica, Chianti Classico $8.95; 2003 Fazi Battaglia, Marche, Estate Sangiovese $9.99; 2003 Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel $8.99: 2005 Fetzer “Valley Oaks“ Gewurztraminer $5.99; 2002 Chateau St. Jean “California” Merlot $8.98; 2003 Guilhem Durand, Vin de Pays d’Hauterive $8.95; 2002 14 Hands Merlot $7.95 and so forth. Later vintages may be a dollar or two more, but I am drinking these now.

      2 Replies
      1. re: BN1

        A couple of nice Italians for under $10... Di Majo Norante Sangiovese, Amano Primitivo Puglia.

        1. re: knowspicker

          Yes, I thought the Di Majo Norante was surprisingly good for the money.

      2. we just had a Honey Moon viognier that was delicious and I think about $5. It reminded me of Jasmine tea with honey and Asian pear. A nice summer surprise.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Betty

          I like the Honey Moon Viognier, too. The only place I've seen it is Trader Joe's.

          1. re: mojoeater

            Yes it was in a care package from TJ's (we don't have them here)

            1. re: Betty

              Also pleasantly surprised by the Honey Moon from Trader Joe's. I've also had a couple of Albarinos for right around $15 that were very good, but I can't remember which one. I'll have to take a look next time I'm at the store!

          2. re: Betty

            I absolutely LOVE this wine. I get a bottle every time I go to Trader Joe's.

          3. I love the Provencal roses, most of which come in at about $15. I know they became trendy last year when the hip hop crowd discovered them ( ) but I refuse to abandon them for some more obscure, aficionados-only treat. If some people mistake me for P. Diddy that's just a cross I'll have to bear. Although, actually, that has not happened yet for some reason.

            14 Replies
            1. re: inuksuk

              Dang, I must be behind the curve, as I am still trying to get my wine-snob buddies to embrace Rosés. Even top-line Tavels are met with disdain, since they are "pink." Hey, maybe I can play the P-Diddy card.

              As an aside, I usually do not care what is in, or out. I buy/drink what I like, and the consensus be dam#@^d. I was glad, on one hand, when "Sideways," became a hit, as the few good domestic (US) Merlots were being sold-off. OTOH, I was glad that I had a good stock of PNs, as they became the "darlings." I passed on several trips to the Central Coast Area, just because I did not want the crowds. During that time, Napa was almost deserted, and I did not complain, one bit.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Not behind the curve at all. Rose has it's place. I enjoy a rose w/ BBQ shrimp with a spicy sauce. Your wine-snob friends wouldn't turn their noses up at this combination of Sweet/Spicy.

                1. re: chrystaldawn

                  I've been doing Rosés for years, and especially love them with lighter summer fare. Heck, if I admit it, I probably started with Rosés (Lancer's & Mateus), then moved on, only to re-discover better ones, years later. Somehow, I totally missed the White Zin craze. My comment was basically regarding the new popularity of Rosés now. Seems logical, as they are fun, refreshing, usually food-friendly and not that expensive - that is, until they become the next "Hot Wine." OTOH, maybe even more of the Central Coast folk will explore them, using some of the European (and a few domestic ones) Rosés as a template.

                  For general food pairing, I find that Rosé sparklers and Champagnes cover a very broad spectrum. When at a loss for what to pair, I'll usually fall back to one of these.

                  Thanks for the update on the popularity of the wines. Though, in my local paper, just this morning, there was a spread on Rosé parties! You were right on track.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Hey, the word is spreading. Catch this article in today's Chicago Tribune:

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      I remember a time when the ONLY wines I knew of were Lancer's, Mateuse and Blue Nun. The first two had the added benefit of coming in bottles that were candle-worthy.

                      I enjoy a good rose in summer, and tried a nice Tavel (at your suggestion) just a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Loved it!

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        For "candle-worthy" in those days, we nearly always relied on several Chianti offerings, that were sold in fiachi, with the wicker wrappings.

                        Still, Lancer's was served a lot in our household in the early '70s.


                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                    crowds? on the central coast? what central coast were you visiting? and what time of year??

                    1. re: wineninja

                      I gather you haven''t seen Sideways.

                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      weird-- it's *only* my wine snob buddies who drink rose with me.

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Love your attitude, Bill. Shouldn't have passed on the central coast but just gone a little further north for the emerging Rhone varietals of the SLO, Paso Robles areas (which I'm sure you're aware of). All the craziness was to the south of basically Lompoc leaving the northern AVAs available for a pleasant journey.

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Bill - I like your style, because it is mine as well. I hated the Sideways effect on pinot, but it did open up some nice opportunities elsewhere, eh?

                          When you come to SF, I'll pour rosés for as long as you want -- now that is a category that still remains very attrractive, even though NYC and SF have been featuring them on summer wine lists.

                        2. re: inuksuk

                          Although I like collecting and drinking wine, I particularly like to buy tavel by the case and store it. I find that it gets better with age, and there is no one i know (yet) who would say that it doesn't pair with good foods and cheeses -or drink well by itself (or with moderately spicy foods). Of course, the unseen "cost" of keeping these around for years is unknown - but I like the flexibility of being able to drink these anytime between 0 and 15 years (just opened a 12 year old tavel the other day - it was excellent).

                        3. I recently enjoyed a bottle from Australia. It is " Fetish Shiraz The Watcher Barossa " 750ml $16.99. Screw top..which I am still getting used. I really don't have the vocabulary to describe it but I would say it is smokey, complex and it reminded me a little of Stags Leap. ( Glad you said nothing over 20!)